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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Emergency Preparedness Is More than Just Flashlights!

I sat up late last night watching the storms. No, not out my windows, on the radar screen on the computer! Boy how things have changed. We used to have to wait for the weather man to tell us what was going to happen. Now we can watch it happen. I kept thinking things like “take cover Omaha!” and “Des Moines, it’s after you next!” Seriously, living in Michigan, why do I care? I’m not really sure, I just love weather. With weather-related and other emergencies, we need to be prepared. Prepared how?

Flashlights? Batteries? A generator? What else? In our family we have emergency kits with enough provisions to last 72 hours. Yes, there are flashlights but we also have food, water, a change of clothing, a copy of every important paper that we may need (driver’s licenses, birth certificates, insurance papers, wills, credit card/bank information, etc.), cash (about $100 and yes it has to be actual cash not a credit/debit card although that’s a good idea as well), a pocket knife, a first aid kit, personal toiletries, plastic sheeting, duct tape, a can opener, three days supply of any (very) important prescription medications, bug repellant, rain ponchos, etc. You get the picture. All of this has to be in a portable container, such as a backpack, so that it can be grabbed in a hurry.

For example, how would the disaster of hurricane Katrina have been handled differently if every person had taken along a 72-hour kit? What about the flooding, tornados, eathquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions? What about train derailments, chemical leaks, gas explosions, fires, or anything else that drives you from your home with seconds evacuate. It seems like a day doesn't go by without us hearing about some disaster. Often, it's impossible to grab anything as you run out the door, leaving every important thing behind. These little bags of provisions can make a huge difference in an emergency. I hope we never need them, but they are there if we do. We even practice emergency drills just like we do fire escape plans. Each child his or her own bag and they know how to use it! What's your opinion? –Julie

For more advanced emergency supplies, try these:
Quakehold! 70280 Grab-'N-Go Emergency Kit, 2-Person, 3-Day Backpack
Deluxe Emergency Kit-4 Person Emergency Zone Brand Disaster Survival Kit, 72 Hour Kit

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